It’s an easy read and yet each new encounter leads one to dive a little deeper into the deep-seated belief systems that drive us. How much of how I see the world is based on what is actually occurring? How much is the product of what Ruiz calls the dream, my own chosen perceptions tied up with the judgments common to the society I live in?
Ruiz entreats us to make four simple agreements with ourselves, and yet carrying them out is hardly “simple!”
To be “impeccable with your word” forces one to consider even seemingly innocuous exchanges (e.g. …Have you got a minute? when we really want ten). The commitment not to “take anything personally” is even harder, given that many of us— myself included— are prone to “star in our own movie,” as I like to say.
What??? Everything you say and do is not about ME??? Who’d have thought THAT could be true?
His third agreement is not to make assumptions. This is the hardest one for me. I love to try and put together the pieces of the puzzle, to figure out what’s happening and rejoice in my own perceived mastery of the situation. Ruiz reminds us that to assume others are processing information the same way we do is pretty crazy.
Finally, the fourth agreement is a call to excellence, “Always do your best.” He reminds us that doing your best on one day may not be the same as it is on another day. Circumstances change. We live and learn. My best today includes things I didn’t know yesterday and lacks what I will know tomorrow based on today’s discoveries. Probably the most endearing aspect of this part of the book is the reminder that doing one’s best does not mean excessiveness.
Overkill is not sustainable, as Ruiz reminds us.
Finally, he offers some thoughts about letting go of old agreements that are in the way and beginning the journey of self-transformation, self-control, forgiveness, and more as we create a new dream for a better existence.
The wisdom of the Toltecs is simply put and yet profound and transformational in Ruiz’s writing. I look forward to revisiting it again and again.